Yesterday my DELL Inspiron 8000 laptop suddenly shutoff unexpectedly, and ever since then it has been locked in a low CPU speed mode. The CPU Is runnig so slowly that it is at 100% CPU loading continuously, and bootup now takes over 6 minutes instead of 1.5 minutes. The system is now too slow for practical purposes, even on the simplist tasks. Now that the laptop is at normal operating temperature the CPU speed is not being set back to normal operation.
I suspect the laptop overheated and shutdown and the process placed the CPU into a low CPU speed mode, and I do not know how to gain access to that feature of the CPU to correct the condition. Hopefully it may be corrected. I have a second harddrive with a basic WindowsXP Pro installed and it too is very slow, so the issue is definitely hardware. Does anybody know how to correct this situtation, and get the CPU running back at full speed again?
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I finally resolved this problem by dismantling the laptop and cleaning it. The finned heat exchanger at the end of the heat pipe transfering heat to the fans was severely clogged with dust. Even one of the fans had stopped working because of the quantity of dust buildup.
It is a delicate operation but well worth the effort. My laptop is now back to its normal performance. The screen, touchpad and keyboard were the three elements that needed care in handling.
Next time that happens, the standard procedure is to surround yourself with stupid people as fast as you can.
When your CPU is working at half it's maximum speed, but everyone around is twice as slow - no one notices the difference !